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Justin Green Out of the Underground & Into the Basement's "Opening" has been rescheduled (beacuse of of early March snow storm) to the closing on Sat., April 12th @ 6 PM.


We are proud to host a show with comic legend & master sign craftsman, Justin Green. Justin has been creating our signage in & outside of the store for the last 7 or so years. Below is a brief bio of Justin.

We hope to see you at the opening.

Justin Green is one of the most prolific artists of the San Francisco Underground Cartooning movement,  recognized as the originator of the autobiographical comic with the publication of "Binky Brown Meets The Holy Virgin Mary," in 1972. This seminal work also anticipated the groundswell in literature about OCD by over two decades. Other artists, including Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman, have cited Green as an influence. He contributed to scores of anthology titles, including two which are comprised entirely of his own work: "Show + Tell" ('73) and "Sacred and Profane" ('75). A collection of his subsequent Binky work was published in '95, "The Binky Brown Sampler."

From 1992 until the 2002 demise of Tower Records, Green did a monthly biographical comic strip in their PULSE! Magazine, titled "Musical Legends." They were compiled in a single volume and published in  2003. Since 1986, he has done a monthly comic for Signs of the Times, our nation's oldest trade magazine (published in Cincinnati), titled, "Justin Green's SIGN GAME." At 62, he is one of the youngest practitioners of traditional sign-painting. In addition to designing and and painting the Shake It sign, his work adorns the  storefronts of several Cincinnati businesses, and he is also the designer of the official Hamilton County flag.
He recently did an installation with the graffiti artist ESPO (Steven Powers) in Miami.

His work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and he has appeared in such  esteemed venues as The New Yorker Magazine, Print Magazine, The Sacramento Bee, the WVXU website and lately, Cincinnati Magazine, yet he is still known primarily as "The Underground Artist," Justin Green.

The exhibition at Shake It Records in Cincinnati features original pages from private collections and works for  sale; reproductions of published work; teaching materials from his forthcoming book, "The Dying Penman," and  small scale signs. Several of his "Musical Legends" pages are on permanent display at the store. The show  will run from Saturday March 8th thru Saturday, April 12th,

Mary Gauthier – Live at Shake It, Sunday, March 23th @ 4 PM (Easter Sunday)

Between Daylight & Dark
made it into the Top of 2007 by the majority of Shake It’s massive staff.  Somewhere spoken & sung Mary delivers some of the most striking & stark storytelling on the Americana/folk/country scene today.  Sometimes she’s not too far offer from fellow Louisiana native Lucinda Williams. 
Listen here:

Here’s a nice review from Popmatters:

A John Garfield of the music world.Mary Gauthier will break your heart and save your soul. She writes edgy tunes that can cut like a knife one minute, and heal the wound the next. The grit in her throat and ache in her voice resonate with the experience of one who has been there and done that, and knows better now. The songs on her latest record speak compassionately of life’s losers, outcasts, and misfits. Displaced New Orleans refugees, hobos, the incarcerated and their families, and such, populate her verses along with those confused by love and the ties that bind. Gauthier endows her characters with depth and dignity as they struggle to improve their situations. She knows that they all have their stories and their reasons, even when they act badly. She doesn’t judge them. She just makes them real.

The different individuals and their personal narratives form the core of Between Daylight and the Dark. The album works as a collection of tales, each distinct and separate from the others, but that share a common thread of deep emotional truth. The listener recognizes the shared human impulse that drives people towards love, and family, and yet somehow paradoxically operates to keep us lonely and alone. “We wanna go home,” one of her protagonists moans, “We can’t find the way.” Gauthier knows we may be lost, but at least we are lost together.

That’s true even of the loners. Consider Steam Train Maury, the title personage from “The Last of the Hobo Kings”. He may have “an aching wanderlust / embedded in his gut,” but he also has a wife named Wanda and true pals like Dandy Dave, Rusty Nails, Sweet Lady Sugar Cane, and the Baloney Kid. Gauthier understands that even the most obstinate freedom lovers among us still value other people. Sure, she’s a romantic, but Gauthier’s also a realist. She knows the days of train freeloaders have ended. “The boxcars have been sealed for years / and trespassers do time / And the railroad yards are razor wired / And hoboing’s a crime,” Gauthier sings without affectation. Still, she remembers those who came before us, like the Hobo King, and honors their memories.

Musically, this is one of those great indefinable records that are part country, part rock, part blues, and part roots music. Gauthier’s frequently compared to artists like Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams, and indeed her songs would sound right at home on their records, and vice versa. But these musicians are no more interchangeable than James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and John Garfield, to name a similar trio of like artists. They each had something special to offer that expressed their unique individuality. Gauthier’s most distinguishing features include her ability to identify with life’s walking wounded in a voice that simultaneously conveys vulnerability and strength. Her characters may be “broken on the inside,” but they’ve been restored to health just by not giving up. For the most part, they haven’t lost faith in the future, even when dealing with the petty disappointments of everyday life.

The most poignant example of this can be found on “Thanksgiving”, which concerns a family going to visit a loved on at the Tallulah State Prison on the national holiday. The “gravel faced guards” make everyone wait in line, and search-frisk white-haired grammy twice, with and without her winter coat. “When they’re done she wipes their touch off her dress, stands tall and heads in,” Gauthier sings in a proud voice. Grammy knows love isn’t free and easy, but there’s no question in her mind that it’s worth the trouble. Gauthier’s description of Thanksgiving in prison as a family affair restores the humanity to a scene that could fall into pathos or caricature in lesser hands. The incarcerated person is never named, and there is a big crowd at the prison. We learn that those in jail are people that have families that love them. The cruelty of separating people from those they love is made clear without preaching.

Joe Henry’s production is worthy of singling out for praise. He doesn’t crowd the songs with instrumentation. The music is always in the background. Henry knows how to convey a mood or make a comment with a subtle touch. For example, he begins “Snakebit” with just the sound of a shaking tambourine, which evokes a rattlesnake. Later on the same tune, the piano hits an off-key chord as the main character discovers herself with her hand wrapped around a gun, and wonders what she has done. The song goes on as before, just as life goes on. Henry let’s the listener know a rash act has taken place and doesn’t over dramatize it. The song ends on a gentle note that just kind of lingers in the air. The implication is clear that the protagonist’s conscious is clear—at least for now.

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Instore Sat., March 29th @ 3 PM

When we first heard Thao’s debut CD, We Brave Bee Stings & All, it instantly moved to the front of the instore playstack and has remained their since it came out a month ago.  She gets compared to a poppier Cat Power but it sells the CD way short considering that so few debuts tend to stand so independently on their own as well as this one does.  There has been a time in the shop that we haven’t play it that someone hasn’t asked “What’s Playin’?”  Be sure to catch this cool acoustic set from her & band!  Listen here:  http://www.myspace.com/thaomusic

Here’s a nice review from Pitchfork…
The past few years have given us scores of adolescently regressive males presented as pop culture heroes. In fact, it's become something of a cliché even to note that movies and sitcoms typically pit schlumpy, carefree, childlike guys against willful, no-fun, grown-up women. Depending on whom you ask, Knocked Up managed to find some middle ground between the two poles, but it seems to be an exception. Until Hollywood gives us a good portrayal of the adolescent-leaning female, we have Portland-based Thao Nguyen and her backing band the Get Down Stay Down, who specialize in galloping indie pop with sugar-coated hooks, a frosting of horns, and a considerable dark streak. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter, whose expressive voice suggests an earthbound Beth Orton, sings about such youthful concerns as ice cream cones and cannonballs off diving boards, but with unexpected maturity, dignity, and charm. These qualities make her second full-length, We Brave Bee Stings and All, sound so immediately distinguished and spirited. Even that title makes a child's fear sound as epic as 300.

At this retrospective time of year, this point of view feels especially fresh and significant. Nguyen isn't merely the old archetype of the female as innocent naïf, but rather one who takes that youthful vision and marries it to a sly and incisive wisdom. Nguyen's is a remembered childhood both personal and universal. Describing herself as "a small kid at the big kid table," Nguyen has a sharp eye for small, telling details, which could form the bedrock of a young adult novel but here inform songs simultaneously life-size and larger-than-life. "We brave bee stings and all," she sings on "Swimming Pools", as her banjo pushes the music to a running pace. "We don't dive, we cannonball." She beatboxes at the beginning of "Geography", whose opening line-- "Geography is gonna make a mess of me"-- could be about a long-distance relationship or third period.

"Feet Asleep", which appeared on last year's Kill Rock Stars comp The Sound the Hare Heard, begins unassumingly, with Nguyen singing against a folksy acoustic guitar theme, then the band launches into a brassy Dixieland-style chorus-- one of the album's fullest and most joyful moments-- as Nguyen turns bad circulation into a metaphor for romantic complacency. Those horns pop up again more quietly on "Violet", drawing frowns across the song as she bids farewell to a friend. Throughout Bee Stings, the Get Down Stay Down keep the music light and fast-paced, revealing a broad range of styles but never boasting about it, and Tucker Martine's suitably slack production emphasizes the sharpness of her voice and the playfulness of her melodies. On "Fear and Convenience", she asks, "Did he hurt you in a new way?" Nguyen sounds generally curious, even as the darker implications of her question loom over the song. Bee Stings is, in a sense, a coming-of-age album, as serious themes underscore her jaunty melodies and adult concerns encroach on her summery youthfulness. Nguyen strikes a fine balance between the two, but here's hoping she doesn't grow up too much.

-Stephen M. Deusner, February 04, 2008

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